The year 2020 is gone but we were taught a lesson. We are looking forward to what the current year will bring. The online environment and search strategies are constantly changing. Therefore, it is no wonder that SEO is undergoing further changes. Let’s imagine the trends that will affect search engine optimization in 2021.
Probably the Biggest Gamechanger: User Friendliness
This year, the function presenting a great opportunity and a challenge at the same time, will definitely be the quality of website loading. Of course, this was important even before 2021, because it had significant impact on performance indicators.
If the loading of the website or page takes longer than 1 second, users begin to lose attention. They leave the page after 10 seconds. The longer the delay, the faster people disappear. And all of this has an enormous impact - on conversions, for example.
From May, Core Web Vitals Will Take Charge
It’s no secret that Google will start considering the long-awaited Core Web Vitals in its website rankings in May. Web Vitals itself has been around for some time. It is a set of metrics that Google considers critical to the user experience of the website. Core Web Vitals is part of the most important features of Web Vitals.
So far, mainly specialists in UX and web design have dealt with it. With the final verdict of projecting the results of these metrics into the overall rating of the website, it is clear that UX & web design are one step closer to SEO . And it is not a small step.
3 Metrics, 3 Jaw-Breaking Names
What metrics should SEO specialists take a closer look on? Let’s dive in -- here is a brief introduction.
First Input Delay (FID)
The first metric abbreviated as FID represents the time period in which the user can perform an action on the website. Typically, this can be a click on an interactive element (button, link, etc.). Therefore, the metric evaluates the speed of loading website interactivity.
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
This metric describes the time it takes to render the largest content element (visible in the viewport). This element is usually an image or video, but it could also be a text block. Rendering this element is critically important, because the user can see if the page is really loading. If they can see this, they are less likely to leave the website.
As you can see from the picture, this can be applied to the Instagram logo.
On your website, you can determine the element in PageSpeed Insights. Enter the domain name and run the test. In the results report, scroll down to Diagnostics and find the line Largest Contentful Paint Element.
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
The last metric, but definitely not the least important, is cumulative layout change. It indicates any change of page layout. We’ve all experienced it - the page is loading, you want to click a button, but as it loads, the layout changes and you click somewhere you didn’t want to.
Which elements are affected by the resulting CLS can be found again via PageSpeed Insights. The diagnostics can suggest what you can improve as part of a cumulative layout change. If you are more technical, you can also access the source of the problem through the developer console, specifically through the Layout shifts region. This gadget will color-code the elements that cause the layout to change.
And since Google wants to help us, it has set a rating scale and limits for each metric.
Tools for Help
We already know the main metrics, what they represent and also what their ideal values are. The question remains: How can we measure them?
- Google Search Console – for us, the “SEOers”, this tool is practically bread and butter. The developers were not lazy and added the Core Web Vitals tab to our reports. Now you can easily view the daily report together with the evaluation of the website pages.
- PageSpeed Insights - another feature from Google, probably the best-known tool for analyzing web speed.
- Chrome User Experience Report
- and there are definitely more.
The (dis)advantage is that such trends always arrive in the Czech Republic with some delay. However, this means that we have a chance to prepare for their arrival properly. Therefore, believe us when we say that voice search is currently spreading abroad and in the Czech Republic it will become trendy in a few months/years.
Some people say that it will be impossible to optimize voice search, but others say the opposite. If, like us, you belong to the faction that believes in progress and science, you can already prepare your business for voice search. You can start right at the constant of the entire SEO - keyword analysis. Focus on query phrases - how, where, when, why or what. In most cases, people will want an answer to their question. Use them on your website and incorporate them accordingly.
Write for People, Not Machines
With the last point we would like to zoom in on the content part of SEO and also the whole SEO. Very often, the definition or designation of Internet search optimization is used for a simple explanation of the abbreviation SEO. There is no need to discuss whether or not this definition is correct. But the truth is that this search engine optimization should not be limited to search engines, as many people think.
Before now, content was written in order to place keywords, which in the end became counterproductive. Texts overflowing with keywords didn’t work well with search engines, let alone people. Due to the advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, it makes much more sense to write texts for users, not for machines. Google is working hard on its algorithms, improving and trying to understand the broader context and text interpretation on the web. Quite simply, it can’t be fooled so easily now.
Search Intent Is Becoming More and More Important
This year, extend your focus on search intent, too, and try to give people exactly what they want. Think about what content the user who submitted the request to the search engine wants. The goal is not just to get them to your website, but to offer them relevant information what they were really looking for. Let us give you an example:
I need new shoes, so I enter “women’s Nike shoes” into my search engine. I assume the search engine will offer me a site where Nike women’s shoes are sold. If I’m offered a site where all Nike shoes are sold, it is not a relevant result for me as a user. The goal of SEO is not to improve position for irrelevant pages at all costs.
We’ll discuss more about Core Web Vitals and web speed another time. But if you are so interested in this issue that you’d like some training, try Martin Michálek’s workshop - we have completed it and we can whole-heartedly recommend it.
Say Goodbye to Desktop Bot
Since the summer of 2019, there has been talk of a mobile first index. This meant that Google first went through the mobile version of your site, and only then the desktop version. So if there was something missing or hidden in the mobile version, it was non-existent for the robot.
And no wonder. The share of mobile phones used as search devices is growing year-on-year and computers and tablets are slowly declining. Therefore, since March 2021, we have mostly said goodbye to the desktop bot. Only the mobile version will be taken into account for web browsing and subsequent evaluation.
Power of Voice: Voice Search
Last year, the trends were focused on visual searching, primarily via Google Lens. In 2021, how consumers search will be trendy, too. However, now the focus will be Voice Search. Technology is advancing - we have smartphones, watches and tablets and we can control them via Siri, Amazon Alexa or Google Voice Assistant.
In a search engine, you would probably enter an abbreviated term “Brno best coffee place“; however, you would ask the voice assistant “Hey Google, tell me what the best coffee place in Brno is”. Thus, there is a greater chance that the term used will look natural and likely to contain long tail phrases.
This is interesting, but how does it relate to SEO? Voice search will have the greatest impact on:
local companies and their business large online shops like Alza, Mall or Amazon news or information sites
In 2021, there will definitely be some things to work on. But before you start improving speed or experimenting with voice search optimization, you need to fine-tune your site in all the basic pillars.